Japan Whale Slaughter 2010 - 2011


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Message 1051103 - Posted: 25 Nov 2010, 15:55:47 UTC
Last modified: 25 Nov 2010, 16:18:53 UTC

It's that time of year again when a handful of Japanese backed by bucket loads of corruption set sail on an odyssey of blind-eye whale slaughter... And all for what?

Last year was unexpectedly dramatic and is summed up in "JAIL life (Japanese whalers SLICE Sea Shepherd boat IN TWO!)" and "JAPAN PUSHES TO 'LEGALISE' WHALING!".

The line-up so far for this year is:


Japanese open about being part of Sea Shepherd crew

Oyakawa is one of the first two Japanese to fully identify themselves as crew members of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's vessels, which next month will try to block Japan's whale hunt. She is motivated by the belief that the human population has grown so large that people must stop eating wild animals to minimize the disruption to ecosystems.

"I realize meat-eating people do not plan to stop eating meat. But we should at least live a humble life and (not plunder) the Earth,"...

...Oyakawa and Stephens will be in the Antarctic Ocean with their Sea Shepherd colleagues in December, awaiting the whaling fleet of Kyodo Senpaku, a company indirectly contracted by the government to catch whales and sell their meat. The company usually dispatches its fleet in November or December for the month's voyage to the Antarctic Ocean. It hunts until February or March and returns to Japan around April.

A Kyodo Senpaku official declined to say when the whalers plan to set sail.

Japan has conducted what it calls research whaling since 1987 after the International Whaling Commission imposed a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986. Japan and other whaling countries argue research whaling is legal. Antiwhaling countries argue otherwise.

In May, Australia began legal action before the International Court of Justice in the Hague to stop Japanese research whaling in the Antarctic Ocean.

The court said in July it has set the deadline for Australia to submit a written complaint by next May 9 and for Japan to submit a counterargument in writing by March 9, 2012.



Watson ready to confront the hunt

... Speaking in Sydney, Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, said this season's antiwhaling campaign, dubbed "Operation No Compromise," is already on.

"We're better equipped now than ever before. Every year the Japanese whaling fleet gets weaker (and) we get stronger," he said, insisting his group's upcoming campaign will fare better than last year's.

Watson said the new fast interceptor vessel Ocean Adventurer, currently in Fremantle, Western Australia, will join the former Norwegian harpoon vessel Bob Barker in Hobart, Tasmania, along with the flagship vessel Steve Irwin, which is currently en route to the southern city, the closest point to the Southern Ocean...

"Australia and New Zealand have virtually given the green light to (Japan to) be more aggressive by doing nothing," he said in regard to an incident last January in which the whaling vessel Shonan Maru No. 2 chopped off the bow of Sea Shepherd's New Zealand-registered speedboat the Ady Gil, which later sank.

Watson also said he disagrees with the findings contained in New Zealand maritime authorities' investigation report released Wednesday, in which both parties were blamed for the collision. "I think New Zealand is trying to sit on the fence here and keep everybody happy by saying both people are at fault," he said.

"The report admits the Ady Gil had the right of way, it admits the Shonan Maru was the overtaking vessel, it admits the Shonan Maru should have avoided the collision and it admits the Shonan Maru deliberately turned into the Ady Gil — and then it says they are only 50 percent responsible for the collision, which seems very strange for me," he said...



Where in the World is the Japanese Whaling Fleet?

... By now they should be on their way to the Southern Ocean to murder whales...

It would be wonderful if that is where they were to remain. Perhaps they’ve thrown in the towel and will not be returning to the Southern Ocean. We can only hope.

There are many possibilities:

1. They have quit and surrendered. Total victory for the whales.
2. They heard Michelle Rodriguez is onboard the Steve Irwin, they saw Avatar and decided not to mess with her.
3. The Emperor decided that it was time for Japan to enter the 21st Century and ordered the end to whaling.
4. They’ve gone broke, and the Japanese government said, “hell no more subsidies you beggars, it’s time for you glorified welfare cases to get a real job.”

Or...it’s just politics. Today the Japanese Foreign Minister...

The Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign, Operation No Compromise, composed of Sea Shepherd ships Steve Irwin, Bob Barker and Gojira will depart from Hobart, Tasmania on December 2nd to once again intercept the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean.



Whaling fleet yet to depart for Antarctic

The whaling fleet has not yet left for the Antarctic Ocean, making this year's departure unusually late.

The fleet has set sail between Nov. 6 and Nov. 19 in each of the last 10 years.

The Fisheries Agency, the Institute of Cetacean Research and whaling company Kyodo Senpaku declined comment on the fleet's schedule or why the departure has been delayed.

Greenpeace Japan official Wakao Hanaoka and Junichi Sato said it is probably due to difficulty in finding a refueling ship.

"Kyodo Senpaku lost the refueling ship it had been using, and it is difficult to find a ship owner who will take the risk of being associated with internationally condemned whaling activities,"...

The stockpile of frozen whale meat increased to 5,670 tons, ... up from last year's average stockpile of 4,246 tons, according to Fisheries Agency statistics. It rose steadily from 1,453 tons in 1999, the oldest available figure...



An interesting little snippet about the whaler's use of the "Oriental Bluebird / Hiyo Maru #2" tanker:

Season May be Ended for Damaged Whaling Ship

... Japan is making a mockery of international law by re-flagging and using the refuelling tanker, formerly known as the Oriental Bluebird, after it was fined by the Panamanian government for breaching international environmental law (2). Now named the Hiyo Maru - the vessel is still operating with the whaling fleet, without a permit and despite the fact that Japan has ratified a treaty which seeks to ban the practice of reflagging to circumvent environmental law...



So... International legal proceedings to stop the whale slaughter are in motion, but can take no action until deliberations likely well after March 2012...

Hopefully, Paul Watson and Gojira* can bring a halt to the slaughter long before then.

Or the Japanese may even do the honourable thing and for once to listen to and heed what the rest of the world are saying.

Meanwhile, unusually, the whaling fleet have so far not left port.


It's all our one world,
Martin


* Very good naming there for Sea Shepherd's new fast interceptor. From wikipedia: "Gojira (ゴジラ?) is a combination of two Japanese words: gorira (ゴリラ?, "gorilla"), and kujira (库丝辣(クジラ)?, "whale"), which is fitting because in one planning stage, Godzilla was described as "a cross between a gorilla and a whale",[5] alluding to his size, power and aquatic origin."
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Message 1051863 - Posted: 29 Nov 2010, 16:20:59 UTC - in response to Message 1051103.

[...]

So... International legal proceedings to stop the whale slaughter are in motion, but can take no action until deliberations likely well after March 2012...

Hopefully, Paul Watson and Gojira* can bring a halt to the slaughter long before then.

Or the Japanese may even do the honourable thing and for once to listen to and heed what the rest of the world are saying.

Meanwhile, unusually, the whaling fleet have so far not left port.


Interestingly, the Japanese whaling fleet is still in port in Japan. They are curiously very late in departing... Have they given up? Running for a short season? Or are there other politics or corruption at work?


Meanwhile:

Sea Shepherd unveils new weapon

...called Gojira.

It is the first Sea Shepherd vessel to be registered in Australia.

Director Jeff Hansen says Gojira is the fastest and strongest Sea Shepherd vessel ever built.

"This vessel can outrun any Japanese vessel which means that we will have the element of surprise," he said.

"We can find the factory ship and the factory ship is the one we're after. If we can find the factory ship we can shut down whaling."

Mr Hansen says Sea Shepherd is aiming to stop Japanese whalers from reaching their quota of 1,000 whales this summer in the Southern Ocean.

"If there's any issues down there, we hope [the Australian Government] will step up and defend a vessel that's named and birthed and has a home port in Australia and has Australian citizens on board.

"We hope the Australian Government will really step up and have the guts to take on the whalers."




It's all our one world,
Martin


* Very good naming there for Sea Shepherd's new fast interceptor. From wikipedia: "Gojira (ゴジラ?) is a combination of two Japanese words: gorira (ゴリラ?, "gorilla"), and kujira (库丝辣(クジラ)?, "whale"), which is fitting because in one planning stage, Godzilla was described as "a cross between a gorilla and a whale",[5] alluding to his size, power and aquatic origin."


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Message 1052091 - Posted: 30 Nov 2010, 22:53:29 UTC - in response to Message 1051863.

Interestingly, the Japanese whaling fleet is still in port in Japan. They are curiously very late in departing... Have they given up? Running for a short season? Or are there other politics or corruption at work?


And the main Japanese whaling ship is still in port:


Has the Japanese Whaling Fleet Surrendered?

... It is December 1st, at least on the Japanese and Australian side of the International Date Line, but the Japanese whaling fleet remains in port.

For years I have said that Sea Shepherd goes down to the Southern Ocean stronger than the year before, and the Japanese ships go down weaker. They may be weaker than we thought. They may be ready to call it quits. The illegal Japanese whaling fleet may be on the brink of surrendering, at least for this year.

Never before has the Japanese whaling fleet left later than November 19th. That was more than 10 days ago, which means...

... Is this the beginning of the end for illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean?

We can only hope so.



Indeed, we can only hope so.

Here's another angle on Sea Shepherd's latest recruit:


Sea Shepherd set to unleash Godzilla on Japanese whalers

... The swift and ominous-looking interceptor vessel has the moniker Gojira and was named after the ferocious monster in the legendary Japanese film, known in English as Godzilla.

The 115-foot boat launched Monday in Fremantle, Australia, and has joined the Steve Irwin and Bob Barker in Hobart. Later this week the three boats will begin the journey to Antarctic waters, where their crews will await the arrival of the Japanese whaling fleet...



And whales, alive, are a lot more valuable than dead meat:


Whale of a tale about the Earth

... In the 20th century humans decimated whale populations around the globe by 1.5 million animals.

Reports form the last couple of months clearly show that whales are helping researchers determine atmospheric science, Arctic oceanography, the extent of global warming, marine food web nutrition and record breaking migration patterns. Incidentally, all of these fascinating discoveries are taking place on frugal scientific budgets...

... It turns out that humpbacks contribute more nitrogen to the Gulf of Maine than all the rivers combined, an estimated 25,000 tons, annually.

In turn, these nutrients allow more phytoplankton to grow, which increases the food supply at the base of the marine food web, therefore promoting bigger fisheries and higher abundance where whales occur in greater densities.

Clearly, it is erroneous to claim, as the three whaling countries tout, that whales compete with their commercial fisheries; rather, they enhance them...

... Not only are the whales helping us determine how quickly global warming is occurring, but also the extent of the hole in the ozone layer. In addition, since 40 percent of the ocean's phytoplankton is missing from warming ocean temperatures and ocean acidification (from absorbing rising levels of CO2), the whales are crucial in their role to fertilize the oceans and replenish phytoplankton — the base of the entire marine food chain.

In 2008, 13 million people from 119 countries paid $2.1 billion to see the whales. Around the globe whale watching tourism is growing at 10 percent per annum. It's time now to end the whale hunt...



It's all our one planet,
Martin


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Message 1056671 - Posted: 16 Dec 2010, 17:07:05 UTC
Last modified: 16 Dec 2010, 17:07:28 UTC

All on a collision course?

And all soon after some fishermen recently lost their lives in the cold of the Antarctic...


[Japanese Armed] Coast guard protects Japanese whaling ships

Armed coast guard troops are stationed on Japanese whaling ships heading for the annual summer hunt in Antarctica, raising fears of potentially lethal clashes with protest vessels.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully is appealing for restraint from both sides as they shape up for what have in recent years become increasingly violent battles over Japan's Southern Ocean whaling programme. ...

"Here you have a pretty explosive cocktail. You've got some Japanese whalers going down there feeling somewhat angry about the developments last year when there was accusations being made about the conduct of other parties. You've got protesters going down there saying they're going to take a very robust approach.

"Anyone who looks at what happened last year has got to be fearful that there will be loss of human life under those circumstances...



Armed guards on whaling vessels

... He made the comments yesterday after announcing that New Zealand would continue to pursue a diplomatic end to whaling instead of joining Australia's legal case in the International Court of Justice.

"Here you have a pretty explosive cocktail," ...

... "It simply doesn't make any economic sense for Japan to continue to spend large amounts of taxpayers' money subsidising a dying industry in the Southern Ocean."




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Message 1062813 - Posted: 2 Jan 2011, 19:00:05 UTC
Last modified: 2 Jan 2011, 19:14:23 UTC

What a way to let in the New Year!


Sea Shepherd locates whaling fleet before the slaughter

For the first time in seven years of campaigning in the southern ocean Sea Shepherd have been able to locate 2 harpoon vessels in the whaling fleet before whaling was able to begin.

The Sea Shepherd vessels Bob Barker located on New Year's Eve 2010 an unidentified harpoon vessel on the edge of the Antarctic ice at 148 degrees west. Shortly after the Sea Shepherd flagship, the Steve Irwin, found the Japanese harpoon vessel Yushin Maru #2 sitting in the ice some 60 miles to the north. ...



Dancing with Death Machines at the Bottom of the World

"What an awesome way to begin the New Year," said captain of the Gojira Locky MacLean of Canada. "Our three vessels dancing dangerously through the ice packs locked in confrontation with the three harpoon ships of the Japanese whaling fleet. It was both deadly and beautiful. Deadly because of the ice and the hostility of the whalers and beautiful because of the ice, and the fact that these three killer ships are not killing whales while clashing with us." ...


Anti-whaling activists accused of dangerous tactics

The organisation in charge of Japan's scientific whaling programme has accused the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society of endangering its crews in the Southern Ocean.

The two sides have clashed for the first time during this season's Antarctic hunt.

Sea Shepherd says it is determined to pursue the Japanese whaling fleet through the icy waters of the Antarctic. ...

Mr Watson says the Japanese fired a water cannon and stink bombs were thrown onto the decks of the whaling ships.

The protest fleet resumed its pursuit of the Nisshin Maru, with the Japanese harpooners pursuing the protesters in turn, he says.

"Once we are on the Nisshin Maru we're just going to block it to prevent their whaling operations. We do know they are not whaling because all three harpoon vessels are chasing after us instead of chasing whales.

"We're trying to get a zero quota here and make sure they don't kill any whales." ...



Sea Shepherd's posting of their first contact with the Japanese whaling fleet is: Dancing with Death Machines at the Bottom of the World

The Southern Ocean - 62 Degrees 30 Minutes South & 147 Degrees 25 Minutes West 1100 hours AEST




All with reckless speed through the ice?...

Note also from the video clips the very great agility of the harpoon ships. I think their demonstrated high speed very tight very fast S-turns clearly shows which ship was in control of the situation during the collision and sinking of Sea Shepherd's "Ady Gil"... (I wonder if the harpoon boats use a fin keel, just like a racing yacht?)


Meanwhile, a little pause for reflection during the long hours of searching:

Poetry and Emotion in Ocean and Motion

Commentary by Captain Paul Watson

O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth, that I am meek and gentle with these butchers! Thou art the ruins of the noblest species that has ever lived, in and beyond the tides. Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood! Over thy wounds now do I prophecy - the disgrace of your cruel death has cloaked my species with shame everlasting, and there will be retribution!

- Taking some liberties with Shakespeare


I am often asked how...




All in the frigid southern ocean, now.


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Message 1063425 - Posted: 4 Jan 2011, 14:27:02 UTC

Who's hunting who and what?


No role for patrol ship as whaling clash starts

... Yesterday the whalers and the activists were navigating along pack ice near the Ross Sea, having sailed about 600 nautical miles since Sea Shepherd vessels encountered the whalers on New Year's Eve.

The Sea Shepherd leader, Paul Watson, said there were indications the key Japanese vessel, the factory ship Nisshin Maru, could keep running for days.

''We know where it is, about 100 nautical miles ahead of us, but they'll have to stop running before we can catch up with them,'' Mr Watson said. ''Sometimes they will run for more than a week.''

In the first close confrontation of the whaling season, on New Year's Day, activists hurled bottles of a foul chemical on to the harpoon post of the whale chaser Yushin Maru No. 3...




Meanwhile, the Japanese harpoon boats are likely to try harassing Sea Shepherd... Experience from earlier last year shows the Japanese to be quite happy to ram and sink Sea Shepherd with impunity. Let's hope Sea Shepherd can stay alert...


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Message 1063435 - Posted: 4 Jan 2011, 14:51:14 UTC - in response to Message 1063425.

Who's hunting who and what?


This is just too much of a hoot not to shoot:


YouTube: Sea Shepherd on the run from the Japanese whalers

On New Year's Day Sea Shepherd announced they located the Japanese whaling fleet in the international waters of the Southern Ocean. Boasting they located the whalers before any whales was harpooned. ...


I wonder if he is out to out-vie Glenn Inwood!

Also note: Working for the whalers


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Message 1064000 - Posted: 6 Jan 2011, 17:04:45 UTC - in response to Message 1063435.
Last modified: 6 Jan 2011, 17:11:01 UTC

Who's hunting who and what?



Looks like the Japanese whalers have just tried to make a repeat of slicing a Sea Shepherd boat in two!


Sea Shepherd Repels Assaults from the Yushin Maru No. 2 and the Yushin Maru No. 3

At 1330 hours (AEST), Sea Shepherd’s vessel the Gojira came up behind the Steve Irwin to receive a transfer of supplies. Seeing the fast interceptor vessel sitting dead in the water, the Yushin Maru No. 2 picked up its speed and began approaching her rapidly at a very high speed of 19 knots.

Anticipating that the whalers might attack a stationary Gojira...



In stark contrast, earlier:


Romance in the Southern Ocean

Sea Shepherd’s crew aboard the Gojira was treated to an incredible sight when a pod of humpback whales surfaced right beside them earlier today and began to…. well, make love!



The latest encounters have now made headlines in the main newspapers here:

Straight into battle: High-tech anti-whaling vessel clashes with Japanese fleet in freezing Southern Ocean

* Activists fire stink bombs made from rotten butter and aim ropes at whaling ships' propellers and rudder
* Japanese fleet retaliates with water cannon, acoustic weapons and stun grenades
* Three Sea Shepherd vessels harrying whaling fleet as it carries out annual mission in Southern Ocean
* Whalers forced to divert two harpoon ships to prevent high speed Gojira reaching 'factory' ship and halting operation

Anti-whaling campaigners have clashed with the Japanese fleet using a state-of-the art interceptor vessel as they bid to disrupt the annual hunting campaign. ...




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Message 1066055 - Posted: 13 Jan 2011, 0:40:37 UTC
Last modified: 13 Jan 2011, 0:41:59 UTC

Two of the three Japanese whaler's harpoon boats are tailing the two Sea Shepherd boats the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker. The Sea Shepherd Gojira has so far escaped the fate of its predecessor, the Ady Gil that is now somewhere lost in Davy Jones' locker...

Meanwhile, the Japanese "Cetacean Death Star" Nisshin Maru, and a lone harpoon boat continue further to flee west at high speed...

And now:


Sea Shepherd Cuts off Supplies to the Japanese Whaling Fleet

The mysterious and elusive supply ship for the Japanese whaling fleet has been located. At 1420 hours on January 12 AEST, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s scout and interceptor vessel the Gojira found the Japanese refueling and supply ship. It is identified as the Panamanian registered Sun Laurel (IMO# 9405631), and it was found at 62 degrees 43 minutes south and 178 degrees 33 minutes west. ...


If we can't do something as simple as save a few whales from just 4 maurauding boats, then what?

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Message 1068231 - Posted: 19 Jan 2011, 14:16:49 UTC
Last modified: 19 Jan 2011, 14:20:27 UTC

Now, this is raising the stakes somewhat...


Whale Activist Vows To Fast Till Death

Tom Falvey is a friend of mine. We go way back to Greenpeace days. Tom is determined to hold onto this life threatening fast until Japan ends its hostile aggression against both the whales in the arctic seas ( Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary) and against the brave Sea Shepherd crew desperately trying to protect the whales.

Please help him by writing letters to the Secretary of State and Embassy of Japan. Addresses below ...

... I want to live. But some things are worth dying for. If necessary I will join the countless individuals who have given their lives for two fundamental principles:

* The rule of law must prevail, and
* Armed aggression on the high seas is unacceptable

The Japanese whaling fleet pretends to be conducting scientific research in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, off Antarctica. The International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) scientific committee has rejected this cynical subterfuge several times. In 2007 the full IWC formally asked Japan to stop its lethal research (Resolution 2007-1). Japan has said no. ...

... Japan is unique but not privileged. It cannot make its own rules and enforce them by violence. The oceans are not Japan’s for the taking. ...

... Tom Falvey, 61, is an environmentalist and writer in San Diego, CA. He is not affiliated with any organization. He does not represent the Sea Shepherd activists. This is a personal statement of conscience. ...




Meanwhile, Sea Shepherd are riding a tactical chase:

Riding a Storm in Pursuit of a Black-Hearted Sun

It is Day Seventeen since finding the Japanese whaling fleet, and it is a wee bit uncomfortable today after the whaling fleet supply vessel Sun Laurel decided to lead us into a storm to try and shake the Bob Barker and the Steve Irwin off its tail. ...

... Behind the two Sea Shepherd ships in plain sight are the Yushin Maru #1 and Yushin Maru #2. Both of them are more than a day's steaming from the whaling grounds, and if they are not on the whaling grounds, they are not killing whales.

The Gojira continues to hunt for the Nisshin Maru and the Yushin Maru #3. ...



And indeed there will be much at stake during any standoff or any Japanese aggression over refueling in the Antarctic.


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Message 1073813 - Posted: 3 Feb 2011, 15:11:30 UTC
Last modified: 3 Feb 2011, 15:12:12 UTC

Some good and some bad for Sea Shepherd's attempts to thwart the Japanese whaling. Looks like the Japanese can be just as tactical as Sea Shepherd, or were the whalers just recklessly foolhardy 'lucky' through dangerous conditions?...


Operation No Compromise Campaign Progress Report

Report: December 2nd, 2010 to January 31st, 2011
Day 61 of campaign, day 31 in pursuit of the Japanese whaling fleet

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society fleet:

The Steve Irwin:
(The Netherlands) Captain Paul Watson and crew of 42
Departed Hobart on December 2nd, 2010
Intercepted the Japanese whaling fleet on December 31st, 2010

The Bob Barker:
(The Netherlands) Captain Alex Cornelissen and a crew of 35
Departed Hobart on December 2nd, 2010
Intercepted the Japanese whaling fleet on December 31st, 2010

The Gojira:
(Australia) Captain Locky MacLean with a crew of 11
Departed Hobart on December 11th, 2010
Intercepted the Japanese whaling fleet on December 31st, 2010

Total crew: 88

This year is the weakest the Japanese fleet has ever been with only four ships including the Nisshin Maru factory ship, and the three harpoon vessels the Yushin Maru, Yushin Maru No. 2, and Yushin Maru No. 3. The spotter vessels and the Shonan Maru No. 2 security vessel are absent from the whaling fleet this year. ...

... Ice! ...




And a plea for help to keep the Sea Shepherd campaign running:

Sea Shepherd Sails into Times Square with Their First Outdoor Advertising Campaign

Next time you find yourself walking through the heart of Times Square on 42nd Street, look up at the ‘CBS Spectacular’ big screen ...


Sea Shepherd Flagship Steve Irwin Needs Your Help!

... The Steve Irwin needs to purchase 240 tons of marine diesel fuel. It costs about USD$800 for a ton of fuel, so this means we need to raise over $192,000 to fill the tanks and enable us to return.

Whatever you can donate will make a difference! Reducing the kill quota to very close to zero is an enduring investment.

To start this off, I have donated $5000 towards this effort myself. ...




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Message 1073819 - Posted: 3 Feb 2011, 15:22:25 UTC - in response to Message 1068231.

Now, this is raising the stakes somewhat...


Whale Activist Vows To Fast Till Death

Tom Falvey is a friend of mine. We go way back to Greenpeace days. Tom is determined to hold onto this life threatening fast until Japan ends its hostile aggression against both the whales in the arctic seas ( Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary) and against the brave Sea Shepherd crew desperately trying to protect the whales. ...



All for a very good and dedicated reason:

Tom Falvey Ends Fast

... He continued to fast for 25 days until Paul Watson sent a letter ...


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Message 1074857 - Posted: 6 Feb 2011, 21:18:34 UTC
Last modified: 6 Feb 2011, 21:19:11 UTC

So...

The Japanese whaler Yushin Maru #3 tries to ram and sink the Sea Shepherd Gojira for a second time. Looks like they came within just a few metres for a very close call as the Gojira tried to outrun the attack. Note that the Japanese harpoon boats can make very tight very fast turns and have the clear advantage of manoeuvrability. They are hunter boats after all...

Sea Shepherd meanwhile paint-balled the whaler and eventually fouled its propellers.

The Japanese then call an international distress and are crying foul.

I think that a fouled prop after a second attempt at brazen ramming is a highly restrained response from Sea Shepherd.

Sea Shepherd are now also being attacked with bamboo spears!

This is all no TV show. This is real world stuff.

UTTERLY DISGUSTED WITH THE JAPANESE WHALERS!


The first of the media responses are:


Japanese whalers claim Sea Shepherd disabled ship, then ignored distress call

... "We just narrowly avoided being cut in half," Captain Locky MacLean of the Gojira said on the Society's website.

One of the fleet's small craft was showered with bamboo spears from the YS3, the website says, but no one was hit.

The fleet did fire stink and paint bombs at the YS3 to try to stop the vessel following the Bob Barker.

Captain Paul Watson, founder of the Society, said the YS3 was trying to distract the Gojira and Bob Barker in order to keep them away from the Institute's two other harpoon vessels and its factory ship.

He also said the Gojira received the YS3's distress call and responded three times with an offer of assistance but did not get an answer.

"They say they're in distress and we're standing by," Captain Watson said.

"The Gojira is right beside them and they refuse to answer our calls."

The Institute said the Shepard fleet ignored the distress call, which Captain Watson said was "absolutely not true".

Captain Watson said the YS3 remains idle and the Gojira will stay by her side, ready to assist. ...



Tensions mount between Sea Shepherd activists, whalers

... The Institute of Cetacean Research, the group supporting the so-called scientific whaling missions, issued a news release stating that the assault continued for hours despite the mayday call, and that activists "deployed at least 10 propeller foulers and threw more than 80 butyric acid-filled glass bottles and at least five smoke bombs against the Yushin Maru 3."

The Yushin Maru 3, one of three harpoon boats involved in the Southern Ocean hunt, apparently had been tailing the Bob Barker in an attempt to prevent it from pursuing the factory processing ship, Nisshin Maru. Sea Shepherd stated that a Gojira crewman radioed the Yushin Maru 3 and said it would not be hassled if it stopped tailing the Bob Barker.

Sea Shepherd also claims that someone on the harpoon boat hurled a "bamboo spear" at an activist driving an inflatable vessel alongside the harpoon boat. Sea Shepherd posted video of that incident on its website.



Japanese Whalers Issue a False Distress Signal

... In accordance with maritime law and protocol, Captain MacLean of the Gojira stayed with the Yushin Maru No. 3 for more than 48 hours to offer their assistance, if necessary. However during this period of time, the Japanese whalers refused to acknowledge any calls inquiring as to the nature of their “distress.”

Finally, Captain MacLean was contacted by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and notified that the Yushin Maru No. 3 was not in distress and did not require assistance. With that confirmation, Captain MacLean elected to leave the area to continue the search for the whaling vessels.

The Yushin Maru No. 3 is no longer tailing the Bob Barker, and is also not participating in whaling operations. It may be suffering mechanical problems. ...



Really "at least 10 propeller foulers and threw more than 80 butyric acid-filled glass bottles and at least five smoke bombs against the Yushin Maru 3"? I suspect there's a little exaggeration there. Also, Sea Shepherd have since moved on from using their old smelly rancid butter (butyric acid) to instead use something a little more modern that smells of rotting meat...


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Message 1075483 - Posted: 9 Feb 2011, 12:55:41 UTC

A couple of articles catching up on events in the Antarctic and at home in Japan for the Japanese whalers:


Southern Ocean Shutout: Whale Warriors Holding Fleet to Zero Kills

The Sea Shepherd’s Southern Ocean season—“Operation no Compromise”—is more than half over. Early reports suggest that the anti-whaling brigands are in the midst of their most successful campaign yet: Very few—if any—whales have been taken by the Japanese hunting fleet, and no ships have been sunk on either side. Yet. ...


Whaling in Japan is on the verge of collapse

The tide of public opinion in Japan has finally begun to turn against the whalers


And the Sea Shepherd Steve Irwin has refueled and is oncemore on it's way back to the hunting grounds to hunt whalers. Nothing further yet about the disabled Yushin Maru #3 after their attempted ramming and skirmish with Gojira.


Disgusted with the Japanese whalers.

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Message 1077529 - Posted: 15 Feb 2011, 15:12:16 UTC
Last modified: 15 Feb 2011, 15:15:24 UTC

Rather an interesting turn of events...

Are the Japanese whalers circumnavigating the Antarctic to try to shake Sea Shepherd off their tail? The refueled Steve Irwin is on it's way to catch up with the Japanese. The circumnavigation manoeuvre raises a hard gamble of whether Captain Watson should sail East to chase the whalers, or West to head them off on their round-the-world return!

Myself, I would go for some strategic loitering... ;-) Then again, I haven't got the charts or the latest positions to make a good guess.

Regardless, while the Japanese Nisshin Maru is racing away, they aren't whaling. That just leaves the question of where the harpoon ships might be and what their game might be...

Oh... And that Yushin Maru #3 wasn't as dead and distressed as their distress call suggested. All just a cynical cry of 'wolf!' to keep the Gojira idly standing by for a few days?...

Meanwhile, hopefully the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary is oncemore a sanctuary.


Whalers flee hunting area chased by activists

The Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru is said to have left its whaling grounds far behind as it tries to shake off a conservationist pursuit, and instead is approaching the Antarctic Peninsula below South America. ...

"They may be thinking they can run the Bob Barker out of fuel," Mr Watson said. "The Bob has more than enough fuel to return back west with them or to carry on east with them."

He said the course taken by the Nisshin Maru raised speculation it might steam on past Cape Horn to circumnavigate the Antarctic and reach the far western end of its whaling grounds, below the Indian Ocean.

"If so that will knock a great deal of time out of their killing season," Mr Watson said.

Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research refuses to comment on the movements of its ships. ...



The Yushin Maru No. 3 Backs Down from the Bob Barker

... Today, the Yushin Maru No. 3 made a move to test the resolve of Captain of the Bob Barker Alex Cornelissen. The harpoon vessel moved in quickly as if making a motion to transfer a dead whale, although they did not have one but used the same movements as if they did.

The Bob Barker did not back down and held its position. If the Japanese vessel had continued its movement, there would have been a collision. The Yushin Maru No. 3 backed down and retreated, leaving the Bob Barker solidly blocking the stern slipway of the Nisshin Maru.

The Nisshin Maru has been unable to shake off the Bob Barker in the ice packs. The Gojira flanks the fleet keeping on the outside of the ice packs and speeding up to meet the whalers when they emerge from the ice. ...



Where oh Where are the Whalers Going?

Commentary by Captain Paul Watson

Where oh where are the Whalers Going? Now that they have left the whaling ground The blood on their decks has stopped flowing, The harpoon cannons make not a sound Running to the east without reason The Bob is barking hard on their tail Halfway through the short whaling season. Without doubt now – the whalers will fail.


Mount Siple is beautiful sight. At 3110 meters, it dominates the view of the Antarctic Coast – one of the very few unclimbed mountains in the world. And this is hardly surprising because it is hard to find a more remote part of the planet than this area by the Getz Ice Shelf.

[The Nisshin Maru forges ahead with the picturesque Mt. Siple in the background.] Mount Siple is the third largest mountain in Antarctica, and a sight we have not seen before in the seven voyages we have made to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The reason we have not seen it is because never before have we had cause to venture outside the boundaries of what the Japanese have designated as their official whaling grounds. ...







Disgusted with the Japanese whalers.

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Message 1077896 - Posted: 16 Feb 2011, 14:19:13 UTC - in response to Message 1077529.

[...]

Where oh Where are the Whalers Going?

Commentary by Captain Paul Watson

Where oh where are the Whalers Going? Now that they have left the whaling ground The blood on their decks has stopped flowing, The harpoon cannons make not a sound Running to the east without reason The Bob is barking hard on their tail Halfway through the short whaling season. Without doubt now – the whalers will fail.


Mount Siple is beautiful sight. At 3110 meters, it dominates the view of the Antarctic Coast – one of the very few unclimbed mountains in the world. And this is hardly surprising because it is hard to find a more remote part of the planet than this area by the Getz Ice Shelf.

... a sight we have not seen before in the seven voyages we have made to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The reason we have not seen it is because never before have we had cause to venture outside the boundaries of what the Japanese have designated as their official whaling grounds. ...



Is this making for an interesting turn of events?...



Japanese whaling fleet gives up the hunt

... An official from the Fisheries Agency of Japan, Tatsuya Nakaoku, told Reuters in Tokyo yesterday that putting safety as a priority, the fleet had called a halt to whaling for now.

''We are currently considering what to do hereafter,'' he said.

When asked if Japan was considering bringing back the fleet earlier than planned, Mr Nakaoku said this was an option and added that Japan's whaling plans were not going smoothly.

The director of Greenpeace Japan, Junichi Sato, said: ''When the government says it is 'considering' something, they have already decided.''

The leader of Sea Shepherd, Paul Watson, was unconvinced and said he would not relax pressure on the fleet's factory ship, the Nisshin Maru, which is about 2000 nautical miles from its whaling grounds, and still steaming away.

Rather than heading north for Japan, the Nisshin Maru, closely pursued by the Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker, was at last report running east, near the Antarctic Peninsula, and approaching Drake Passage, below South America.

Mr Watson said he was concerned the Nisshin Maru might try to circumnavigate Antarctica and return to its whaling zone south-west of Western Australia.

The Chilean government said its navy would monitor the factory ship's movements.

Chile has banned whaling in its waters, as well as the transport of cetacean parts through them. ...




Japan Whale Hunting on Hold

... Japan’s Fisheries Agency said that Japanese whalers have suspended their operations since Feb. 10, pointing to harassment from the anti-whaling environmental group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

“The Sea Shepherd boats have been chasing the Nisshin Maru very closely and continuously,” said Fisheries Agency official Tatsuya Nakaoku. “We must firstly think about the safety of the (Nisshin Maru) crew.”

Mr. Nakaoku said the Nisshin Maru is taking a break from the hunt while it assesses the conditions. ...

... Rather than personal safety, the bigger concern may be whether the Japanese whalers have enough juice to get around while hunting. This year’s chase has forced the whalers to zig zag around the waters, straying from their intended route and eating up fuel. Mr. Nakaoku said that lack of fuel is one of the concerns being weighed in the decision over whether to abort the hunt.

“They are a long way from where they are supposed to be. If you can picture Antarctica as a big round table we’re chasing them around the table,” said Mr. Watson. ...



Is that all a ruse, another cry of 'Wolf!' to try to shake Sea Shepherd off their tail, or a cut-and-run to minimise losses? Or might the Japanese finally be acknowledging world opinion?

Note that the Japanese whalers cannot refuel in any Australian, New Zealand, Chilean, or French ports in that part of the world...


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Message 1078289 - Posted: 17 Feb 2011, 14:24:40 UTC - in response to Message 1077896.
Last modified: 17 Feb 2011, 14:26:14 UTC

[...]

“They [the whalers] are a long way from where they are supposed to be. If you can picture Antarctica as a big round table we’re chasing them around the table,” said Mr. Watson. ...


Is that all a ruse, another cry of 'Wolf!' to try to shake Sea Shepherd off their tail, or a cut-and-run to minimise losses? Or might the Japanese finally be acknowledging world opinion?

Note that the Japanese whalers cannot refuel in any Australian, New Zealand, Chilean, or French ports in that part of the world...



Well, this is making for an interesting turn of events. Is this really the end?


End in sight for Japanese whaling program

... Japan's main whaling vessel, which had appeared to be vacating the whaling grounds in the direction of Chile, turned back towards the Ross Sea yesterday. But the Nisshin Maru was thought to be plotting an alternate course home amid signs from Chile that it would enforce a ban on transporting whale parts in its waters.

Sea Shepherd's Alex Cornelissen, commander of the pursuing protest vessel the Bob Barker, said he doubted the fleet would resume whaling despite the U-turn.

"It indicates they might be heading back to Japan. They have dropped speed and I am pretty sure they are going to call it quits," he said.

Tatsuya Nakaoku, of Japan's Fisheries Agency, said the Nisshin Maru might have decided to avoid a confrontation with Chilean authorities, but the vessel had not been ordered home.

Environment Minister Tony Burke said he was still waiting for confirmation from Japan that the hunt had ended for this season, but Australia would not drop its challenge against the scientific whaling program in the International Court of Justice until Antarctic whaling had been officially terminated. ...



A good (comprehensive) summary about the Japanese whaling is given by Richard Black:

Whaling: Beginning of the end?

... The Fisheries Agency (FAJ) hasn't formally declared the season over, but it appears likely that the fleet will soon be on its way out of the Southern Ocean and back to harbour.

FAJ official Tatsuya Nakaoku blamed the suspension on harrassment by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which has made life progressively more difficult for the whaling fleet each year by sending faster and better-equipped boats. ...

... Might the review conclude that there's no need to continue the research?

Whatever the reality of such speculation - and speculation it is at this stage - it does at least appear possible that the current Antarctic hunting season will be the last.

On the other hand, the crisis might spur the whaling lobby in the Diet to action ...




Here's watching for the next move...

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Message 1078768 - Posted: 18 Feb 2011, 13:41:30 UTC - in response to Message 1078289.

Here's watching for the next move...



YEEEHAAAA! For quite a change of course:


VSO Day

It’s official – the Japanese whaling fleet has called it quits in the Southern Ocean, at least for this season. ...

... “The Nisshin Maru made a significant course change immediately after the Japanese government made it official that the whaling fleet has been recalled,” said Captain Alex Cornelissen from the Bob Barker. “She looks like she’s going home!” ...



Japan tells anti-whaling nations to stop activists

TOKYO — Japan told the ambassadors of Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands on Friday to take action against anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd, whose harassment cut short its Antarctic hunt this season. ...


Japan brings home embattled whaling fleet

TOKYO — Anti-whaling activists cheered Friday as Japan called its harpoon ships home early from their annual Antarctic hunt, citing high-seas harassment by environmentalist group Sea Shepherd.

Japan, which hunts the giant ocean mammals under a loophole to a global ban that permits lethal "scientific research", has killed 172 whales this season, only about a fifth of its target, the fisheries agency said.

Activists from the US-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society had pursued the Japanese fleet for months in the icy waters near Antarctica, seeking to stop the slaughter, as they had also done for the previous six years.

The group, which says its tactics are non-violent but aggressive, harasses whalers with paint and stink bombs, snares their ship propellers with rope, and moves their own boats between the harpoon ships and their prey.

Japan's farm and fisheries minister, Michihiko Kano, on Friday said the Japanese flotilla would come home, about a month before the usual end of the hunting season in mid-March, citing Sea Shepherd's campaign.

"To ensure the safety of crew members' lives, of assets and of the research fleet, the government is compelled to end the research," Kano said. ...



Japan ends this year's whale hunt

... REECE TURNER: I think there's three factors at play really. There's the tactics of course of the Sea Shepherd organisation in the Southern Ocean, there's a change in the public opinion at home and increasingly revelations of corruption and of course the diplomatic pressure of the governments like Australia and New Zealand of course has taken its toll as well.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: The whale hunting season usually ends in mid-March.

The Greens Senator Bob Brown says he hopes that days of the Japanese whaling program are finally over.

BOB BROWN: I think there's a much brighter prospect now of the Japanese fleet being mothballed than ever before. They're in serious economic problems due to the persistence of Sea Shepherd. ...



Whaling fleet retreats after safety fears

... It is the most significant setback for whaling in the Antarctic at least since the region was declared an International Whaling Commission sanctuary in 1994.

Japan rejected the sanctuary declaration and kept on hunting...



When radical protest works

It's easy to get turned off by protests, to say that direct action, sit-ins, arrests are counterprodcutive and don't make any difference. But then you read something like this and you realize that, over time, in-your-face activism can have a very direct impact.

Paul Watson founded the Sea Shepherd Society in 1978...




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Message 1079411 - Posted: 19 Feb 2011, 14:52:36 UTC - in response to Message 1078768.
Last modified: 19 Feb 2011, 14:53:24 UTC

Indeed quite a turn around:


Sea Shepherd: 10 Questions for Captain Paul Watson on Japan’s Retreat from the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary

... Every year we come back to the Southern Ocean we are stronger, ... Every year the whaling fleet comes back weaker than the year before. This year we also had the Gojira as a scout vessel ... We also had the Bob Barker with its ability to track and dog the whalers no matter where they go ... Most importantly we had a great team, 88 passionate volunteers on the three ships, and a strong onshore support team internationally. ...

... This year, according to the ICR, they killed 170 Minke whales and 2 fin whales. They only took 16% of their overall quota. I thought at first they could not have taken more than a hundred whales considering the limited opportunities with only one harpoon boat, but I have since discovered that they had taken the harpooners off the other two hunter killer boats and put them on one to allow them to work around the clock. I also suspect that instead of “sampling” from different pods or groups, they took the opportunity to slaughter entire groups to maximize their take. This conflicts with their so-called scientific justification for whaling ...

... In fact, there are so many people that have helped and participated, raised funds, and volunteered their time that I am writing up a special thank you to everyone that will be quite lengthy, but most deserving, and we will post it on our website soon. Bottom-line, this was an international collective achievement by many great passionate and dedicated people, all of whom I admire and appreciate. ...

... We must be prepared to return to the Southern Ocean next season. We do not know if the whalers will resume hunting but we will be prepared to intercept them if they do. We plan to be even more effective, and that means acquiring a fourth vessel; a larger faster ice strength, long-range ship that can outrun the harpoon boats through ice. In the meantime, we have bluefin tuna to save in the Mediterranean, pilot whales to save in the Danish Faroe Islands, and poachers to intercept in the Galapagos. From plankton to the great whales, there are many threats and challenges to marine wildlife and we must address what we can, where we can, and as best we can with the resources we have available to us.




Japan Times: Muted response to whaling halt likely

... the sluggish demand for whale meat weakens the government's bid to counter antiwhaling forces.

The aborted research whaling in the Antarctic Ocean had been slated to run until March. Its halt, however, will not affect whaling in the northwest Pacific, including Japan's coastal waters, according to an official at the Fisheries Agency. ...




Courier Mail: Brown wants court ban on whalers

... Australia's ambassador to Japan was summoned to a meeting on Friday to discuss the issue, with Japan demanding that Australia take action against Sea Shepherd.

But Mr Brown said it was the Japanese whaling fleet that should have action taken against it.

``It's the Japanese whaling fleet that's behaving in an illegal fashion and it's them who should be the subject of an interim injunction - court action now - to see that they don't come back into the southern hemisphere,'' he told reporters on Saturday in Sydney. ...




The Huffington Post: What Next for Japanese Whaling?

... Tokyo confirms the whaling fleet has been called home, ending the 2010 - 11 season, but leaves open possibilities of returning to the Antarctic next year.

Of course if Japanese whalers return to the Antarctic seas they will face Watson and his fleet - probably stronger and more imaginative than ever. In addition, international law regulating shipping in the Antarctic will mandate, as of August 2011, that machinery using heavy oil be replaced by devices running on light oil. That is not massively expensive but would require a refit of the factory ship Nisshin Maru in times when the bogus scientific whaling operation is not coming close to paying its way through the sale of whale meat.

In addition the factory ship is old and dottering. She has had two fires in recent years that, had they gotten out of control, could have unleashed devastating pollution in the sensitive Antarctic ecosystem. Is building another factory ship an option? I don't think so. I was on the Nisshin Maru some years ago when she tied up in Japan. It was like being on an aircraft carrier. There could be no economic incentive for building another of these goliaths when sales of whale meat are falling and huge, unmarketable stockpiles of whale meat are stuffing freezers in Japan.

Japan's bureaucracy is by no means united in support of whaling. ...




Mainichi Daily News: Halt of Japan's whaling mission provides food for thought

... The end of the current mission marks an end to the second phase of the six-year-long Cetacean research project in the Antarctic Ocean. The government will plan a third phase, which could represent a major turning point in Japan's research whaling. The government should take this opportunity to fundamentally review its whaling policy, and even consider suspending the program. Already at the International Whaling Commission, some member countries have proposed to substantially downscale research whaling.

From both a medium- and long-term perspective, Japan should improve its protection of marine resources to a level meeting international standards. Japan has come under mounting criticism from the international community not only over its whaling program but also over tuna fishing. In order to avoid unjustifiable criticism from overseas, Japan should improve its whole policy on marine resource protection.



Wow! Perhaps?...

It ain't over yet. Yet I hope that Japan can 'review' for the better for all...


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Message 1081077 - Posted: 25 Feb 2011, 1:08:18 UTC - in response to Message 1079411.

Indeed quite a turn around:

[...]

Mainichi Daily News: Halt of Japan's whaling mission provides food for thought

... The end of the current mission marks an end to the second phase of the six-year-long Cetacean research project in the Antarctic Ocean. The government will plan a third phase, which could represent a major turning point in Japan's research whaling. The government should take this opportunity to fundamentally review its whaling policy, and even consider suspending the program. Already at the International Whaling Commission, some member countries have proposed to substantially downscale research whaling.

From both a medium- and long-term perspective, Japan should improve its protection of marine resources to a level meeting international standards. Japan has come under mounting criticism from the international community not only over its whaling program but also over tuna fishing. In order to avoid unjustifiable criticism from overseas, Japan should improve its whole policy on marine resource protection.



Wow! Perhaps?...

It ain't over yet. Yet I hope that Japan can 'review' for the better for all...



Or... Have Sea Shepherd finally sunk the Japanese whalers economically?

Mainichi Daily News: Whale meat sales expected to drop on obstruction by Sea Shepherd

... after Sea Shepherd Conservation Society vessels impeded them.

The actual decline in the institute's whale sales revenues will thus be even sharper than estimated in the budget.

The nonprofit institute has depended heavily on revenues from the sale of whale meat to raise funds for what it describes as research whaling and has no choice but to reduce its research outlays.

The budget indicates that whale meat revenues fell from about 6.4 billion yen in fiscal 2008 to 5.4 billion yen in fiscal 2009 and about 4.5 billion yen in fiscal 2010 in line with the decline in whale catches.

The institute has accordingly reduced its fiscal 2010 research whaling outlays by 16.8 percent to about 5 billion yen.

"If the obstruction continues, the present system of financing research whaling with revenues from whale meat sales may fail to be sustained," an institute official said. ...



The Japanese whalers certainly ain't making any profit this year!

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